God is the madwoman in the attic.
I'm camped out on the threshold with my journal, camera, and plenty of snacks.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

self-portrait Sunday: reinvention

once upon a time I was special

today I am ordinary

In my college years, overwhelmed with all the theories at school, the religion of my family and school, the grief and confusion of my family after my father's death, I cemented myself in the notion that if a given idea didn't work for "ordinary people" then it wasn't worth anything.  Over the years, I shucked off much of what made me special, and stripped my life down to an "ordinary person." 

In many ways my life today is 100% the life I never wanted.  I have a husband and a child, rather than the freedom of singleness.  I have financial responsibilities for this family rather than just the risks or security for myself.  I work a day job.  First as an assistant.  Now in sales.  I live in a generic, off-white walls, carpeted apartment behind a shopping plaza.  I have no socio-political action in my regular routine.  I've given up protests, letter writing campaigns, and even volunteering.  Writing classes and book binding workshops are a distant memory.  I work a job.  Tend my family.  Sleep. Rise to do it again.  My 20-year old self is cringing.

In ways that matter to me today, my life is exactly what I value. I have a partner I can rely on.  When postpartum depression stunned me, L was there to show me how to mother, and later to take over as primary caregiver when I went back to work.  I love Little N, who is a bright light, teacher, and playmate to me.  I live a simple, affordable lifestyle.  I share moments of resonance with a few really special people.  I am reconnected to family and relatives, something I never anticipated.  I have rooted myself in love and time.  Time with the folks I love.  Something I consider an important part of my father's legacy and a value I hold as my own.  But all this sums to an ordinary life.

I miss my own specialness.  I miss creating.  I miss believing.  I miss knowledge and connections and expression.  That's why "my time" is so important to me right now.  How will I inhabit that time?  What will I do with those precious minutes that will resurrect and strengthen my gift, my work?  What are the tasks and practice to my achievement?

It's too bittersweet to be rock bottom or a rude awakening.  This is simply an awakening.  One of those events that we are graced with from time to time in life.  That nudge from one route and collection of practices and people into another.  Everything in my life up until this point has brought me here and prepared me for what's next.  My morning pages sketch a path and now it's my turn, my time, and my effort to do the work.

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